Well, my fellow Politicos, it seems the GOP has reached yet another all-time low. They keep doing that – just when you think they’ve scratched the bottom of the barrel with their misogynistic remarks and hate-filled, unconstitutional laws, they out-do themselves again. Impressive.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvanian GOP Governor Tom Corbett did the Democrats one big, gnarley favor. When asked about whether women should be made to watch ultrasound images during their forced pre-abortion procedure (should the invasive PA law go into effect), he simply replied, “I don’t know how you make anybody watch, OK? Because you just have to close your eyes.”
Upon hearing this crass, highly-offensive remark, the turn of phrase, “Close your eyes and think of England,” immediately came to mind. For those of you who might be too young to have heard your parents joke about this quote, allow me to give you a brief history lesson. The original line is thought to be this one:
“When I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, open my legs and think of England.”
It was found in the diary of Lady Hillingdon in 1912. The meaning, of course, was that an unwilling wife should simply do what was considered her wifely duty, submitting to her husband’s sexual advances, no matter how unwanted. And, yes, there was a time in this country, not all that long ago, (even into the 50′s and 60′s in some areas) when it was still considered one’s wifely duties to do so. If you were married, which was one of the very few ways to gain any financial resources or live independently from your family, and your husband decided he was ready for sex, then your duty was clear. Just close your eyes and think of England. Rape did not exist within marriage. Legalized rape with no recourse for the victim.
So along comes the Republican Party in modern times, working hard to keep women barefoot and pregnant, and to codify that into law. First, they attacked Roe v. Wade, trying to eliminate it: stir up the base, get fringe groups to encourage harassment, intimidation and even assassination of providers; then, the “Kill The Pill” movement is encouraged and funded; next, they bring about “Personhood” amendments that will attack safe and legal abortions, but will outlaw hormonal birth control. And the icing on the cake? The internal vaginal probe laws. The GOP gives the state not just the option, but the right to invade the vagina and uterus of women seeking a longstanding, legal procedure. The GOP has legalized State-sanctioned rape.
And to reinforce that idea, along comes Tom Corbett. He actually said what all the others were thinking: “Just close your eyes.” Dear God. His few words convey so succinctly what is wrong with this picture: The Republican idea that the GOP have every right to violate you. “It’s A-OK for the state to violate a woman’s body, and what’s the big deal? Gals, just close your eyes. This will only take a minute. Lie back and take it. ‘No’ really means ‘Yes.’ You may as well enjoy it, because it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. You know you want it.” Or in Tom Corbett’s words, “Just close your eyes.” Corbett just came out and said what all the other men who’ve pushed these invasive bills through in their states were thinking. A woman has no control over her body. We do – the State does - men controlling women. Corbett really brought it all home.
It may have been in the planning for a long time, but the signs that this was the road we were headed down have been plentiful these last few years. Here’s my favorite pundit to recap the action:
Kansas’ new law not only orders your doctor to read a script that states there is a link between abortion and cancer (inherently untrue), but also tells your doctor it is OK to lie to you about your pregnancy, mandates that he do so, and then, states that he can’t be sued for doing so. Thankfully, doctors in Kansas are fighting this one, so it’s been held up and not yet signed into law.
The big message here, through the draconian laws and the “Just close your eyes” remarks, is that women are of little value other than for procreation, and that the men of the GOP have decided to codify that opinion into law. I’ve been calling this go-round with the GOP candidates “The Clown Car Chronicles,” but I think Rachel said it best:
Watching the Republicans try to pick their nominee this year, it’s like watching a drunk try to get their key in the door.
Even the presidential candidates aren’t touching Corbett’s callous and ignorant remarks with a ten-foot pole. The Men of The GOP seem to realize that Corbett has finally blown their cover. Under the guise of their “pro-life,” stir up the base stance, the GOP has inadvertently woken a sleeping giant: the 51% of the electorate who are women. (Take a look at my pal Kathryn J Scagg’s recent post. She sums up our collective outrage quite well.) The chipping away at women’s rights for the past two decades has finally gotten to the point that people, not just women, have had enough. Look at the response to Planned Parenthood’s possible funding cut (the Komen debacle) – people are stepping up to protect the organizations that they believe in. The American people are making clear that the National Organization for Women’s motto is our collective motto: Trust Women.
The extremism that is the present-day GOP has gone over the edge, has finally gone ’round the bend. In November, we’ll need to write thank you notes to Corbett and Co. because their extremist views and activist lawmaking will have paved the path to The White House for our guy. It will have overturned many a seat in the Senate and the House, giving the only pro-woman party the majority again, and ultimately, it will have given birth to a whole new generation of Women’s Rights activists who will fight the battle to Trust Women long after my generation is gone. So, thanks, Republican governors, for going too far with the State-mandating of rape, and thanks for the lovely choice of words that is “just close your eyes,” for the coaching to simply lie back and enjoy it. You’ve riled our husbands and daughters to join in the fight. You’ve inspired another generation to keep fighting the good fight. You’ve even managed to mobilize our base while alienating most of the Republican presidential candidates. Keep up the good work, boys, keep it up.
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